Strict Approach to Defendant’s non-attendance at trial

joanna_hastie_pi By Joanna Hastie

Van Collem v Van Collem [2015] EWHC 2184 (Ch)

The defendant failed to appear for the first day of the listed trial and accordingly the defence was struck out. The defendant  then applied to set aside the order and apply for an adjournment of the trial on medical grounds, stating that his absence at trial had been due to ill health.

The court ordered the defendant to provide medical evidence in support of his application stating as follows:

  • The identity of the medical attendant and their familiarity with the defendant’s’s condition
  • Details of the medical condition and the features that had prevented the defendant’s attendance at trial
  • A reasoned prognosis, sufficient to reassure the court that such opinion was independent and expressed after a proper examination

Such evidence was not provided by the defendant and the  application was refused. Applying CPR39.3(5) the court could not conclude that there was a good reason for the defendant’s non-attendance or that there was sufficient reason to further adjourn the trial.

The defendant in this matter was a litigant in person. This case is a useful guide for those who find themselves at a trial where their opponent fails to attend.

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2 comments

  1. […] Joanna Hastie of Zenith chambers on Strict approach to defendant’s non-attendance at trial. […]

  2. […] Hastie considered what happens when the defendant fails to appear at trial in Strict Approach to Defendant’s Non-Attendance At Trial (October […]

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